An Official Apology to Stay at Home Moms


Sometimes I like to dig through my old blog posts and see what kinds of gems I can find. After all this space has served as a sort of diary for me. Well sometimes I stumble upon junk, trash even. And I don’t know whether to shake my head, laugh, or cry at some of the things I put to pen.

Several years ago, way before I had kids, I wrote a blog post asking what stay at home moms did all day. Feast your eyes on this snippet: “It’s not like you don’t have a choice in the matter, and at the end of the day many say it’s the best job in the world. The best?… Maybe. The hardest?… Not buying it.”

Ouch right? I went on about how all you have to do is feed the kids, bathe them, maybe clean up a little, try to teach them a thing or two and play with them. As if all those things could be done in half and hour and then you could sit down and enjoy a book.

I hadn’t a clue.

I’m still getting hate mail for that post.

Not only did I not stay at home but I didn’t even have kids. I didn’t realize that just because you can stay in your PJs all day, doesn’t mean you have an easy job to do.

As a teenager, I worked in a daycare for a few years with kids between the ages of one and three. I suppose this made me feel like I was qualified to guess what motherhood was like. I followed a schedule stapled to a bulletin board and had nothing to do but focus on the kids 100%. We did a daily craft, sang songs, played games, had snacks and lunch. I even put all 8 to 13 kids down for naps by myself. How could motherhood be much harder?

Honestly, I still don’t know how.

But it is.

Cleaning at home isn’t as simple as dumping toys in a plastic bin and disposing of food scraps in the cafeteria. And oh yea, I wasn’t even in charge of the menu or food prep back then.

After just one year into my adventures of being home with my two kids, I was singing a different tune. I quickly learned in that same eight-hour span of being awake with my kids, answering their every question, finding ways to entertain them, giving them food and snacks, I was stretched pretty thin.

Perhaps part of this is because I care so much. I liked the kids I watched every day at the daycare, but I was no one compared to their own mothers. I was a stand-in that hugged away boo boos, changed diapers, and kept babies happy while their moms took care of work for 40-50 hours a week. But I wasn’t mom. The kids knew it, the moms knew it, and so did I.

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Love alone is exhausting. It’s tiring caring so much about these little people I’ve created. Caring about what they eat, what they watch, answering my daughter’s every question because I don’t want her to think I’m ignoring her. Picking my son up any time he asks because he won’t be this small forever.

This is my official apology to any stay-at-home moms I may have offended. I’m one of you now — and it’s not as easy as I thought.

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  1. I think you probably have it a little harder than most because you’re homeschooling and trying to work part time, so you still have a lot to accomplish while you’re there. I think being a SAHM is really hard, but I think there are a couple key things to consider. I have only had three SAHM stints–two were for maternity leave and one was when I lost my job and spent about 11 weeks at home. I pretty much discount the maternity leaves because they are all about taking care of a helpless baby and trying to get yourself in some sort of livable form amidst sleep deprivation and post-delivery recovery. My unemployment felt a little more typical, though I had one in school and kept my baby in daycare two days a week. I felt it was important so we wouldn’t lose our spot and he’d stay in that routine, and I’d have time to job hunt/interview. I honestly enjoyed the heck out of that time because it gave me a chance to play with my little guy when we weren’t both exhausted, and I had more time in the day to get everything done, rather than cram it all into a few hours. Physically being around my house all day to do laundry or dishes, or to be able to get errands out of the way midday made such a huge difference in how I spent my evenings and weekends. I wasn’t rushing to cram everything in, so I had more time to be a present mom, which made a huge difference to me. BUT…when you have multiple kids and/or no naps, I can see how it would be more exhausting than working away from home as you never get a break from the requests or 4,000 questions. In that case I think evening time away is a must-have. While I felt like my stress level was lower, I can also imagine that the financial strains of one worker (I was on severance, thank God) would ramp up stress on that side of things, too, so I think it’s such a complex issue depending on your situation and what you’re used to. But there are definitely perks and challenges no matter which way you go.

  2. I totally get where you are coming from. After I had my daughter I decided that I would tell my former childless self to just shut up because I didn’t know what I was talking about. I still didn’t learn my lesson though. Now that I have my son too, I realize that having two kids is even more different and difficult than being a parent of just one, and in more ways than I would’ve anticipated. My daughter will be two next month and my son is six weeks, and yes, I planned it that way. What was I thinking…

  3. If all females could see this awesome piece of work! I love being a stay at home mother with a fourth one on the way. I homeschool and just about run all the financial things for my husband. God is good (Lord Jesus)! Btw, you have a beautiful family.

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